# Searing heat and poor pitch conditions is a concern for Malaysia

# Malaysia to face Olympic-bound Fiji side at 2pm Fiji time


Nadi is the tourism capital of Fiji but this is where Malaysia will face the stiffest test yet in their three-match playing tour of Oceania – at the Prince Charles Park Stadium which not only does not have floodlights for the match to be played in cooler conditions – but will have to battle adverse conditions.

Malaysia, ranked No 173, face world No 186 Fiji in their final match in their Oceania playing tour at 2pm (10am Malaysian time) on Sunday in searing Fiji heat on a pitch which is far from comfortable against the bigger built Fijians.

Fiji football is also basking in glory after qualifying for the Rio Olympics in August and the match against the Malaysians is part of their preparations. Fiji coach Frank Farina has taken his side on playing tours of Spain and Brazil and he will use the match against Malaysia to finalize his team for the Olympics.

For the record Farina is a former Australian international who played played for the Socceroos in the junior world cup, the World Cup and the Olympics before coaching the Australian football team.

Malaysia lost their first match against Papua New Guinea 2-0 in Port Moresby (June 17) before scoring a come-from-behind 2-1 win over New Caledonia in Noumea (June 22).

Still, coach Datuk Ong Kim Swee is not throwing in the towel but instead called on his players to continue their momentum and ride on the win over New Caledonia to end the tour on a bright note.

“Let us make it count despite the odds against us. I have been told Fiji cannot accommodate our request to play the match later because the stadium has no floodlights…it gets dark as early as 5pm here,” said Kim Swee.

Depending on how the match progresses Kim Swee hopes to field his strongest lineup with indications that former national No 1 Khairul Fahmi Che Mat set to start the match instead of Izham Tarmizi Roslan or Farhan Abu Bakar. Farhan played against Papua New Guinea while Izham played against New Caledonia.

Khairul was not in the team against Papua New Guinea because he was barred from leaving the country with the rest of the team at KLIA by the Immigration Department for not settling his income tax dues.

Kim Swee has his fair share of injuries with Mahali Jasuli forced to return home after the match against Papua New Guinea due to a severe knee injury. Also on the crock list are defender Shahrom Kalam and striker Zaquan Adha Abdul Radzak but they are still with the team in Fiji.

“The fact that Fiji will be playing in the Rio Olympics is enough to spell what is expected from the well-built Fijians. It wlll be tough playing them but we have to adjust to the situation and get a positive result,” said the former international.

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